Monday, February 23, 2004

I found the following over at SayUncle's place about halfway down the post:

"The gun industry protection bill may have the Assault Weapons Ban attached to it."

From the linked story we find this:

"A Republican-led bill to immunize gun makers from wrongful-death claims is expected to hit the floor tomorrow, but Democrats and liberal Republicans will propose an amendment to extend the federal assault-weapons ban, possibly setting up a showdown with the House.
President Bush supports the assault-weapons proposal as well as the overall immunity bill.
'With regard to the assault-weapons ban, he supports the extension of the current ban,' White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan said. 'On immunity, he doesn't believe manufacturers of a legal product should be held liable for the illegal use of that product."

That's our "pro-gun" president???

"The ban is set to expire Sept. 13, and a split could arise between the White House and House Republicans backed by some of the conservative movement's most powerful interest groups.
The president wants the extension to make good on his 2000 campaign promise to continue the "common sense" legislation. But he also wants to protect the gun industry from trial lawyers, a position supported by the National Rifle Association."

Please remember that the Gun Control Act of 1968, with it's sporting purposes clause & prohibition on mail-order firearms was backed by the gun industry because they thought they could use the market that was being occupied by mail-order (often foreign) surplus gun dealers. Now think about this - if the gun industry supported the GCA of '68 so they could create & then fill a relatively small vaccuum in the market to increase their profits do you think for one second that they'd want ot kill a bill offerring them protection from frivilous lawsuits just so a handful of companies could go back ot making hi-capacity normal capacity mags & rifles with bayonet lugs on them?

So that's where at least one pressure point is located.

"Our position is very clear. This is not about extending the Clinton gun ban and it shouldn't muddy the waters,' said Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president.
'The issue is, do we want to save the American gun industry or kill it ... and we oppose any expansion of the Clinton semiautomatic gun ban,' Mr. LaPierre said."

Not really encouraging, but not damning either. He says the NRA is against the AWB & for the frivilous lawsuit protection bill, but he doesn't say outright which is more important.

"House Republican leadership has vowed to see the ban expire. And the friction between House and Senate Republicans over legislative compromises on the energy and Medicare bills could worsen if the bill for gun makers' immunity enters the House chamber with unwanted amendments.
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said last year that there weren't enough votes in the House to reauthorize the ban, and he has vowed not to fight for votes to push the legislation."

I hope that was a misprint. "...vowed not to fight for votes to push the legislation..."? That is certainly better than fighting for votes to push for the AWB, but less encouraging than fighting for votes against the AWB.

Still, Delay is the Republican leader in the House, but it's Hastert who controls things & he's open to discussion last I heard. Perhaps Delay will have enough influence to sway people to not vote for the AWB in any form. If he actually tries to sway them that is.

"But Senate Democrats will not let the immunity proposal pass without extending the ban and may hold the overall bill hostage using amendments.
Howard Gantman, spokesman for Sen. Dianne Feinstein, said the California Democrat 'has said that she would offer this bill [as an amendment] to the Republican gun-liability bill.'
Mrs. Feinstein introduced a bill last year to extend the ban. It had several co-sponsors, including Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, and has the support of federal and local law enforcement agencies.
'We've urged President Bush to push this,' Mr. Gantman said."

Usual cast of bad guys with the usual evil plan. But the big question isn't whether or not they'll try to attach the AWB to the frivilous lawsuits bill, but whether or not Bush will actively push for it. I've opined before that Bush may be subject to leverage & it's entirely possible that he's holding out for a good deal before he starts throwing presidential weight towards passing the AWB extension.

"Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, New York Democrat, introduced a bill in May to place more guns on that list. A similar bill in the Senate, sponsored by Sen. Frank R. Lautenburg, New Jersey Democrat, is expected to hit the floor this week.
Scott Roliston, a spokesman for Mrs. McCarthy, said his boss would bring more amendments to the gun bill.
'Congresswoman McCarthy ran for office for stricter gun laws. The president said he would sign an assault-weapons ban if it got to his desk. He has 208 days to do this, and it is going to be an issue,' Mr. Roliston said."

It's an issue now. Bush may very well think that he can keep his base (What are they gonna do; vote Democrat?) while getting some swing votes by signing this "reasonable" gun control law. I don't think he realizes that there are enough Bush supporters who will sit the next one out if the AWB gets extended or expanded to make Kerry or Edwards the next Pres.

But Bush may not be in touch enough to realize what he's doing. Like father, like son I guess.

"A final wrinkle in the debate will be a bill from Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, for tighter regulation of the private sale of firearms at gun shows. Federal laws and those of numerous states require licensed gun dealers to conduct thorough criminal background checks of buyers, but guns sold by individuals at shows require no extensive checks.
Lobbyists say the proposed regulation, also opposed by gun-rights groups, has the votes to pass the Senate, either on its own or as an amendment to the gun makers' immunity bill. Its prospects in the House are less clear."

Not AWB related but thought y'all should prepare for that fight as well.

So what's gonna happen? No idea. The House & Senate have enough anti-gun votes to pass damn near anything short of a total ban (& I'm being optimistic), however if enough pressure is applied to the Republicans then they may firm up their votes to a more pro-gun position.

Here's what you have to do:

1: Communicate with your congresscritter (especially your Reps as the Senate is damn near hopeless) & tell him/her that if the AWB gets passed then you will withdraw support from their party!

Most congrescritters figure that either your individual vote won't matter that much in their race (especially if their next election is over a year away), or they can vote to kill the AWB while their buddies who aren't up for re-election can pass it.

Tell them it's a Party thing - we get an extended or expanded AWB & the other Party gets your votes & your friends' votes as well. No excuses!

This might make them pressure their buddies into killing any AWB bills or amendments.

Next - & this is perhaps most important - tell the NRA that if the AWB passes in any form for any reason whatsoever that you'll drop them & switch all your donations to GOA, JPFO & other no compromise orgs. Tell them you'll also drop membership in their state affiliate & throw your local support & donations to local no compromise groups.

This will get them off their ass (hopefully) & make them act like the 800 lb. gorilla that everyone thinks they are.

The reason the NRA is so critical is because they have lobbyists who are more immediately convincing than a couple thousand or tens of thousands of letters from across the country.

Now some of you know I detest the NRA. I wouldn't encourage anyone to join them no matter what because of the way they stab us in the back. But there's no doubt that they are influencial. we just have to grab them by the ear & make sure they don't use their influence to betray us again.

So with the congresscritters thinking about losing votes for their entire Party, & the NRA looking at losing a significant percentage of its members, then something might happen.

Oh, CC a copy of any e-mail to Bush & add a note that says you will not vote for Bush if the AWB passes. & you will not vote Repub again until the AWB is gone.

One last thing: mention to the NRA a boycott of any gun manufacturer who is part of any effort (group or individual) to get the protection from frivilous lawsuit bill passed despite an AWB attachment. The NRA will pass enough of those along to the gun industry groups should any disagreement about killing a bill with the AWB attached come up.

If enough of us do that we may have a chance of seeing the AWB die.

Let's review:

A passed AWB means no votes for that party regardless of individual votes. No excuses!

A passed AWB means resignation & no more cash for the NRA or its affiliates. No excuses!

A passed AWB means a boycott of any gun manufacturer who pushed for it or is a member of a trade organization that pushed for it. No excuses!

Here's GOA's Legislative Action Center page. Use it to find your congresscritter.

Here's a link that'll give you contact info for NRA state affiliates.

Here's the NRA's contact page.

Here's the contact page for the NRA's field reps.

Here's the contact page for the NRA-ILA. (The NRA's political & legal department more or less)


GeekWithA.45 has a post up y'all should read. He also has this follow up post which y'all should check out the links listed therein.

Clayton Cramer is much more optimistic than I am. I respect Mr. Cramer's research immensely but I quite often disagree with his views on things more recent. To sum up the nature of our disagreement in this case: he feels the NRA & the Republicans will do the correct thing - that is, kill the protection from frivilous lawsuits bill if an AWB is attached to it, while I don't share his faith in the NRA or the Republicans (& it's not from some hidden agenda about bashing the NRA - I've always been pretty open about why I bash them). It's simply that the NRA has supported gun control bills in the past, as have the firearms manufacturing industry. The Gun Control Act of '68 is the most prominent example.

In any event whether you're as optimistic as Mr. Cramer or as pessimistic as I am, contact the NRA & your congresscritters. If they're going to do the right thing anyway then politely but firmly making your feelings known to them won't hurt a thing. However if they were thinking about doing something naughty then enough contact with polite but firmly relayed ultimatums may get them back on the straight & narrow.

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